My Top 5 iPod Apps (+ Top 5 Jailbreak Apps)

Written by Derek Wilson on February 21st, 2010

I purchased an iPod touch back in October and I haven’t looked back since. With some help from web services like Google the iPod has helped me to organize my life and it’s been great for staying on track during school (well, ignoring time spent playing games during boring lectures). There’s no denying that the iTunes App Store is nothing short of amazing, never have mobile applications been so easy to purchase and use. It’s biggest downfall, however, is that 99% of what’s in the store is poor quality or just plain useless. This makes it even more exciting when you find a app that adds some amazing functionality to your iDevice. When I first got my iPod I spent a lot of time scouring Top 10 lists and the iTunes top seller lists to find good quality apps, a lot of the time these pointed to really obvious apps (like Facebook, Skype, Remote or Shazam), niche apps or games. Now that I’ve owned my iPod long enough I have compiled my list of my favourite apps which I used almost daily. I’ve left out the obvious ones, because chances are you probably already have them, as well as games (I think I’ll do a top 5 favourite games as well at a later date).

Let’s saddle up and get going. Here’s my top 5 favourite iPod apps:

5. GeeTasks – As a student it can be pretty hard to stay on top of all my assignments and due dates. Luckily I found Geetasks which integrates with my Google Tasks to keep me synced and stay on top of my work. GeeTasks is pretty simple in it’s execution (other to-do apps seem to be a victim of feature bloat) but it does it’s job well allowing me access to my tasks both offline and on.

4. Dropbox – This is a must have if you’re a user of the desktop version of Dropbox. If you don’t know what Dropbox is, it’s a really great application that keeps files synced between computers over the internet plus so much more (Check out more info at the Dropbox website). The iPod app is just an extension of the desktop functionality allowing you to view your files on your iPod

3. Reeder – I’ve tried a few RSS reading applications in the past few years and Reeder continues to be my favorite. It’s got a great UI, it’s easy to set up and use and overall it’s just a winner. It even caches stories and images from your feeds for reading on the go.

2. Instapaper – I do a lot of reading on the web (thanks Reddit) and sometimes I stumble upon an interesting article that’s just a little too long to read in one sitting in front of my computer. Enter Instapaper. Instapaper is a service that allows you to save articles from the web to read later. It strips out all the unnecessary formatting and just leaves you with the story itself. Linking the Instapaper app with your account means you can read your Instapaper queue while on the go (it even syncs to your device for offline reading). You can even go one step further and have it send articles to your Kindle to round out your reading experience.

1. Air Video – This is probably my favourite non-jailbroken iPod app although it may not have the same impact for everyone. It allows you to stream video from you computer to your iPod over your home network. Oh, but all your videos are avi’s you say? No problem Air Video will transcode on the fly or if you wish it can convert it and add it to iTunes for later. The app has two parts, the iPod app for accessing your files and a media server backend that lives on your computer and does all the heavy lifting. If you’re anything like me you have a large media collection of movies and TV shows and this app allows you to access it when and where you want. I’ve spent time organizing my media for use with XBMC so this program fit in so nicely. It allows me to continue watching my media all over my house or in bed without needing to fill up my iPod with large video files. Also you can setup to server to serve you videos over the internet so you can access them where ever there’s a wifi hotspot.

[Bonus: Ambiance, GoodReader, WolframAlpha]

5. Maps Enhancer – The problem with having an iPod touch rather than an iPhone is that it requires a wifi connection for a lot of it’s usefulness. Maps enhancer helps a bit in this regard, it will allow you to use the maps app in an offline mode. It works by first viewing the map you want while you’re connected to the internet then it stores those images in a cache for offline viewing.

4. Scrobbl – This one is exclusively useful for last.fm users. It allows you to scrobble your music on the fly so you can keep your last.fm profile up to date. I think last.fm is a great service for data nerds like myself and this just makes harvesting listening data that much easier.

3. Winterboard – This one allows you to add a custom theme to your iPod. Sure, it’s an app that probably everyone already has but that won’t stop me from loving it. I especially love having a the transparent lock slider since most people won’t know how to unlock your iPod if someone decides to borrow it.

2. Five Icon Dock – This one does as the name implies, it increases the number of apps you can have in the dock from four to five. When I first got my iPod I had a tough time deciding which four apps were worthy of the dock this app helps to make your decision a little easier.

1. LockInfo – This might be the single best piece of software on my iPod. It adds some extra info to your lockscreen which means that you can get all the information you need (email alerts, calendar events, weather, time, ect) without even unlocking your iPod. Not only that but it looks really nice and feels like something Apple should have shipped with the official firmware.

[Bonus: SBSettings, NES 3, Inspell, Categories]